June 9th, 2022

The Gospel according to Matthew (5:20-26)

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”


Today’s gospel made me think of the story of the boiling frog. In essence it is about a frog that is placed in a pot of lukewarm water. The heat is turned up slowly and gradually. The frog becomes comfortable in the warm water and does not realize the water eventually comes to a boil until it is too late and the frog is cooked. Conventional wisdom would be that the frog jumps out when the heat becomes intolerable. This is more likely as the frog’s survival instinct would kick in. Can we say the same for ourselves?

There is not one of us who can claim that we have never been angry. Some might even admit they have an anger issue. But all of us have been angry from time to time. This might also bring up, are there different types or levels of anger. Without getting into detail, it would seem obvious the answer is yes. The anger Jesus seems to be referring to is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 because he brings up murder. But when he pulls the scale back and talks about anger He does not diminish the severity of the consequences.

This is probably because like us, he knows how easily we slide down the slippery slope when we get angry. Left in our pot of lukewarm anger we rationalize and justify our feelings. We think of all the reasons, related, past, present, future, real or perceived that turn the heat up as our temperature rises. We feel so justified in thoughts, words, and actions as we hurl rocks of molten lava at the perpetrator who deserves what they have coming. Have you ever heard the saying that wishing ill on someone is like you drinking the poison and then expecting the other person to die?

What is the antidote for this toxic anger that seeks to destroy everything in its path, including us? It is forgiveness! How can we approach our Lord in prayer or in the Holy Eucharist and ask for our daily bread while we have malice in our hearts? We all carry the burden of unresolved hurts and pain. Not that there is an easy or quick fix to the complex emotions, but forgiveness given and sometimes received is the only way we can assure ourselves the greatest access to our salvation. By seeking forgiveness and forgiving others we truly become disciples of Jesus who from the beginning of His ministry preached repentance. In our journey of ongoing conversion, among the many virtues we seek, with humility and God’s grace we must choose forgiveness.

Action of the Day:

Would seem obvious what’s coming! There is someone in your life that would benefit greatly if your forgave them. There is someone in your life that would benefit greatly if you gave them the opportunity to forgive you. Let us leave our gift at the altar and be reconciled with our brother or sister.

Audio Reflection:

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